There's no doubt that Intel's second-generation Core i5/i7 (Sandy Bridge) is a game-winning platform, despite minor issues with its P67 boards. Like the original release of the Core 2 series, it provides an increase in performance that's truly startling and we're only just starting to see its full potential.

It overclocks by a phenomenal amount and that's something companies such as Cryo PC and CyberPower are going to take full advantage of.

Out of the box, this Cryo PC Nemesis is clocked at a highly impressive 4.9GHz, a cool 1.5GHz faster than the stock clock of its Intel Core i7 2600K quad-core processor. Stability at this level is maintained by the Corsair H70 CPU water-cooling block, which is a lovely bit of kit.

Throughout testing, the system was rock solid, with only the Heaven 2.1 having a single blip of instability, which seemed more GPU- than CPU-based in our experience.

Benchmarks

Cryo nemesis

Game on

In performance terms, we haven't seen anything outside overclocked Gulftown systems touch the Nemesis. Such rigs are far more expensive and only outperform in encoding and rendering tasks by around seven per cent.

The comparable Core i7 2600K-based Scan 3XS Vengeance is left trailing the Nemesis by around 10 per cent.

For gaming performance in the past, we've seen companies opt for SLI GTX 460 configurations. In the Nemesis, Cryo has sensibly gone for a single Nvidia GTX 580 and the benchmarks speak for themselves. Cryo tell us shipping units will have the graphics overclocked, but our unit was running at stock speeds.

This enables the Nemesis to tear up the frames per second to a high level. Again, though, the overclocked Gulftown models of the Cryo Hydro Nemesis and CyberPower Charybdis do nose ahead in many tests.

The advantage the Nemesis has is its far clearer upgrade path: utilising a single GTX 580 card means you can more easily drop in a second card in the future.

The rest of the build quality is flawless. While the pink Lian Li case split opinion more for the design than the colour, Cryo offer a range of case options when you do a custom build, so that's not a problem.

The PC includes dual-storage via a 64GB SSD drive and 1TB HDD, while at its heart is a solid Corsair 750W PSU. We appreciate the continuity of the Corsair products that stretches to 4GB of PC3-12800 memory.

Rounding it off, Cryo includes its premium two-year return-to-base warranty. It's also going to include a keyboard and mouse, though the exact models are undecided as we write this.

More expensive than the Scan 3XS Vengeance, the Nemesis is faster in raw CPU terms, though in gaming it's less dominant. The overclocked Gulftown systems remain king of the hill, as they should – they're far pricier – but even so it feels like their time has passed, toppled by the new Sandy Bridge king.

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